University of Texas at El Paso

What: Dance performance by the Bhutanese Royal Academy of Performing Arts
When:  6:30 p.m., Tuesday,   July 8 
Where: UTEP Don Haskins Center
Admission is FREE and open to the public.

For more information, click here.
Visitors are often surprised and awed by the University of Texas at El Paso’s stunning and unique architecture.

Modeled after Bhutanese dzongs, or monasteries, UTEP’s buildings bring a slice of the Himalayan country—often referred to as Shangri-la—to this city at the far west edge of Texas.

However, the university’s connections to Bhutan, a country nearly 10,000 miles and 12 time zones away, run deeper than its architecture. That relationship is strengthened through the university’s appreciation of Bhutanese culture and tradition.

To celebrate those ties, UTEP proudly hosted Bhutan Festival 2008, that featured a free public performance of folk and mask dances by the Bhutanese Royal Academy of Performing Arts.

Bhutanese dancer performs for onlookers dressed in multicolored costume.The event marked the last dance performance in the United States by the Academy this year and followed an appearance at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, the largest annual cultural event in Washington, D.C. The 2008 festival honored and celebrated the cultures of Bhutan and the state of Texas.

Bhutan’s traditional dance reflects the people’s deep devotion to harmonious living.

Dancers wear rich, colorful robes of silk and brocade, and their wooden or composition face masks represent saints and sages, protective deities, legendary personages, animal forms and caricatures of common people.

Instruments such as cymbals, drums, horns, conches and bells create the backdrop music as part of the performance.

Considered a spiritual experience, the dances date back to the 8th century and today continue to preserve Bhutan’s ancient folk and religious customs.

These talented performers were welcomed to UTEP and El Paso to give the public a glimpse into Bhutan's rich culture.